The Merced County Superior Court is starting to take applications for the civil grand jury.
The main function of the grand jury is to act as a watchdog over local government agencies, including county government, city government, special districts and school districts.
After accepting and investigating complaints, the civil grand jury issues an annual report in June detailing its findings and recommendations.
The terms for the new members of the civil grand jury will last from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, said Court Executive Officer Linda Romero-Soles. She described the role as an important one and said the grand jury is comprised of "an engaged and diverse group of citizens."
Anyone who's interested in serving on the civil grand jury can contact the court by calling the executive assistants at (209) 725-4172. The application can also be downloaded online at www.mercedcourt.org.
Civil grand jurors must meet the same qualifications as trial jurors, according to the court. Grand jurors must be available at least 20 hours a month. Those who qualify for the grand jury will be interviewed by Romero-Soles and Judge Mark Bacciarini, according to the court.
Of those interviewed, Bacciarini will select 30 candidates. From that pool of candidates, a 19-member civil grand jury and four alternates will be selected randomly in open court.
Some members from the previous grand jury could serve another term.
Those who are selected will go through a two-day training course in July, Romero-Soles said.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.